Nothing makes a 30-year-old music writer feel like a decrepit, out-of-touch sack of dust more than scanning a Warped Tour lineup. The hordes of pierced, tatted and asymmetrically coiffed mall-punk idols bred in the Vans corporate laboratory for the specific purpose of filling the stages of its annual summer festival are designed to age out of existence like zits on a forehead, making way for the next seasonal crop of screamer-emoters who will voice the subsequent generation's junior high school years. It's impossible to keep up with, even if you wanted to. Instead of pretending like we have any idea who these bands are, we went straight to the experts—teenagers hanging around in the general vicinity of the Lloyd Center Hot Topic—and asked who's hot and who's totes not on this year's bill. ("Totes" is still a thing kids say, right?)
Who's sick: "The Story So Far I'm really excited for. I've been to one of their shows at Branx, and it was crazy. Everyone was off-the-wall going nuts. They're like pop-punk, kind of, just like, yelling and fun and cry-about-it sad stuff every once in a while."
Who sucks: "The Summer Set is really annoying. It's really pop. It could be on the radio and you wouldn't tell the difference. That's not up my alley. Woe Is Me is terrible live. They're, like, Hot Topic-core, as I call it—the metalcore kind of stuff. The CD is great, but live it's just, like, what are you doing?"
Who's sick: "August Burns Red. I got my front tooth knocked out in the mosh pit during them, like, two years ago. Chiodos is pretty old, but I used to listen to them when I was younger. And Crown the Empire. I like their new shit that's on Rise Records. I've seen them on YouTube a lot. I like angry shit. It helps let out my feelings whenever I listen to that stuff."
Who sucks: "I See Stars sucks, because they kicked out their black screamer. Don't go see I See Stars or Black Veil Brides. They're just really too emo. They put on makeup and stuff. I don't like that kind of stuff. I like hardcore stuff."
Who's sick: "Sleeping With Sirens. [Singer] Kellin Quinn is adorable!"
Who sucks: "Black Veil Brides. Their new style sucks. Their old style was more rockish. Now they're all sweet and soft."
Maria and Aiyana, 13
Who's sick: "Memphis May Fire is one of our favorite bands. They just sing about, like, life and problems. And Never Shout Never. Christofer Drew [Ingle], the lead singer, he had, like, family problems, and he dropped out of school and stuff. He sings about that and, like, his drug-addict problems, and how he managed, with all the problems, to get big with his band. And also, they've been one of our favorite bands since fourth grade."
Who sucks: "There's just, like, radio music that's, like, mainstream, like Allstar Weekend and Hawthorne Heights. But I don't think any of them are that bad. I like them all."
Who's sick: "Odd Future." [Editor's note: Odd Future is not playing Warped Tour.]
Who's sick: "Hawthorne Heights. They're just an old band. I can't say I don't like them. They're just an oldie, so everyone's got to love them. Everyone listened to them in middle school."
Who sucks: "Warped Tour is bringing it more poppy than it used to be. It used to be more metal-y. I've been going to Warped Tour seven or eight years, and it was way different back in the day. Now it's going down the drain. It's to the point where I might not want to go anymore.â